Interventions during delivery/after epidural

Hello berries, I am due in a couple weeks and my doctor said as soon as they give us the epidural, they also insert a catheter all the way through our uretra up to our bladder so we can have an empty bladder during labor…I have never heard anyone who went through that before and I quite don’t like the thought of it as I read it can cause UTI’s. You guys who had an epidural also had to go through that? [name_u]Or[/name_u] is there another alternative? If so, please let me know as I am writing my birth plan and I would prefer another option

I’ve had an epidural when my oldest son was born. I also had a catheter to my bladder. It’s because during the epidural you don’t feel it when you have to pee and you can’t walk around, so your bladder gets emptied through the catheter.
I found it mildly uncomfortable, but in the big scheme of things it was only a minor inconvenience. If at all possible, I’d ask them to wait to insert until the epidural is working, so you hardly feel the catheter in your bladder.

But this is your delivery. Have you asked the doctor if there are any alternatives? If you have any concerns it’s best to just talk to a health care professional beforehand.
Because it was my first child and I wasn’t properly prepared, it never even occurred to me to ask for alternatives at the time and during my other three deliveries I didn’t want an epidural.


I asked the doctor and he said there is no other alternative in case I have an epidural…the deliveries you had without the epidural were bearable? How much worse/better it was?

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For me personally my deliveries without an epidural were a better experience. I felt more in control, and more aware of what was going on in the sense that I was more aware of the progression, had a better sense of when to push etc. Of course they were incredibly painful, but my body somehow knew it was natural and managed to get through it.
Everyone’s pain tolerance is different though. And none of my labours were extremely long. I imagine going through a 24 hour labour without an epidural is something else than going through a 6 hour one. Overall I was lucky that the deliveries were fairly smooth, even the one with the twins, but it depends on so many different things.

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You know, I recently listened to a birth story by a YouTuber from Canada (Embers & Ash) who had an epidural but didn’t need a catheter with her first son - so in some cases it might be doable? Our Positive Birth Story || LABOUR & DELIVERY VLOG - YouTube

I ended up having an emergency c-section with my son so needed the catheter. I didn’t like the idea of it either but it ended not being a big deal at all - I couldn’t feel it and it wasn’t uncomfortable, not even after the drugs wore off. I was too focused on my new baby to think about it much to be honest and forgot it was there! I had it for one night and was able to pee normally in the morning. Didn’t feel anything when they removed it and didn’t get a UTI.


I had an epidural and catheter with my first two births. No UTI, couldn’t even feel it, and with everything going on barely thought of it at all at the time. I found recovery after the epidural a bit more difficult (more sluggish when looking after the baby) but my first birth was long and required assistance in the end, so I’m happy in hindsight to have had the epidural for that as it would have been exhausting and probably even more painful. [name_f]My[/name_f] last two babies I managed without an epidural, and found myself better able to move around immediately after, but they were also not my first, and were quicker (one was only 2 hours long). Of course they were both still unbelievably painful, but I got through them regardless. As someone said above, the duration and individual pain tolerance make it hard to know what to expect, and you have to do what you feel is best. Best wishes!

I had an epidural with my son. Right before they did it, they had me empty my bladder as much as possible. Got the epidural and once that was working they put in the catheter. Didn’t feel a thing, which I was very thankful for. I ended up needing a c-section so would’ve needed a catheter anyway…but it wasn’t a big deal to me. I didn’t get a UTI. It was just a bit hard for my body to learn to pee again.

I’d talk to your doctor about what alternatives there may be but I think it’s pretty standard to have one. You can’t get up and go to the bathroom once you’ve had an epidural. I’m all for preferences and empowering the parent giving birth but sometimes things are the way they are for a reason, unfortunately :confused:

I had a catheter and epidural with my son, ended up needing an emergency c-section anyway so would have had the catheter either way. Epidural didn’t work properly but catheter was great.

I’m not a mama, so I hope it is alright that I’m pitching in. Catheter infections are most prevalent with long-term use. I wouldn’t think the risk of infection would be very high in your situation, but of course there are risks and benefits for every medical treatment. Wishing you a safe delivery!

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I was induced, so I was hooked up to many cords; an epidural and a catheter were two of them. However, idk if that’s normal for all epidurals :woman_shrugging:t2: I had a really bad infection afterward, but because of rpoc (too tmi o talk about :sweat_smile:) not the catheter. Id still ask about anything that makes you feel even a little uncomfortable, tho :purple_heart:

[name_f]My[/name_f] first was a c-section I remember the catheter for that one. This was after a 50+ hour labor and trying to avoid meds. I went into my next two deliveries determined to start with the epidural to avoid the slow progression of meds I had the first time… I do not remember a catheter with either of those. But I don’t know if that’s because it didn’t happen or because I showed up to the hospital each time nearing 8cm and my brain was completely not paying attention…. So if I have one those times then there was no uti issues. If I didn’t then there was no uti issues with having to have it with the first delivery.

I had an epidural and they put in a catheter. Didn’t feel a thing, except relief. I didn’t realize how long I’d been holding my bladder. They showed me the bag and it was so much and quite dark :see_no_evil: No UTI for me. I didn’t even know that was a risk :grimacing: (but I did absolutely no research on epidurals beforehand, I wanted a non-epidural birth so much :pensive:)

I had two deliveries without an epidural, but I actually had a catheter with my first to help empty my bladder with the goal of that helping my daughter to come out after labor stalled. I assume it was the same process. I’m prone to UTIs but didn’t get one after birth.

You asked above if the non-epidural birth was bearable. Everyone is different. I personally chose no epidural because I’m terrified of needles. Labor definitely hurts. [name_f]My[/name_f] first was 18 hours and ventouse delivery, and it was hard. [name_f]My[/name_f] second was only five hours, completely natural delivery, and pretty easy in comparison (and he was 11lb!). Everyone and every birth is different. You can always try nonmedicated and put in your plan that you’re open to an epidural if wanted.

I gave birth without an epidural because I hate needles but I was open to changing my mind. I only had an 8 hr labor, and was able to use nitrous gas and anti-nausea meds to get through the worst part. For me, the pain didn’t get bad until around 7cm, so I knew I was close at that point.

I think with an epidural a catheter is standard practice. The reasoning being that you might lose sensation of your legs and wont be able to walk or be able to feel your bladder (as thats where they are trying to numb!) However there are other pain medications available that are not epidurals. They dont take all the pain away but they do make it manageable. What is available depends on where you live so if an epidural doesnt sound right for you, you can talk to your doctor and see what other pain relief options they have available

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When my girlfriend had our son she chose to have an epidural, and yes she had to have a catheter as well because with the epidural you can’t feel when you need to pee and even if you could you wouldn’t be able to hold it in while pushing anyway so you’d just be continuously peeing all over yourself without one. I haven’t heard of them causing UTIs but just giving birth in general can cause a plethora of infections in that area anyway so honestly I think the catheter will be the least of your worries in the moment. There’s a lot of stuff going up there, a tiny tube is nothing.

I had an epidural with my first but actually delivered about 10 minutes after the epidural was administered, so it had no effect. [name_f]My[/name_f] second I just opted to go with out pain meds. Both of my deliveries were completely manageable. I would say the pain starts to get uncomfortable once you reach ‘active labor’ usually about 7cm. However for me I would describe the pain much like uncomfortable period cramps. The most painful part is ‘the ring of fire’ just as youre delivering their head. But its such a brief moment I think thats pretty manageable as well.

With that said everyone labors differently, And every pregnancy is different, and everyones pain tolerance is different. But my experience has been that labor pains are uncomfortable but manageable.